I was one of those New Zealanders, Australians, Canandians and English that signed up to a tour by mini bus, to Eastern Europe in the early 1970s.
Many vivid memories, sleeping in a tent next to the Berlin Wall, graffiti coloured our outlook from our tents. The delightul pastries as the tower glowered over us in West Berlin, a cross as the sun reflected to inspire the East Berliners with hope. East Berlin, pocked scarred buildings with a Rodin sculptor park amongst it all.
Sombre and desolate.
I had a sense of post war.
Then Poland and Auschwitz, the birch tree at the entrance and the wrought iron sign above…………..the gate of death.
I walked through the rooms, suitcases, hair, glasses, tattooing room, photos of seriously emaciated humans.
I felt a surge of emotion, my time as an undiagnosed anorexic photographed naked at 14 in front of a room full of suited men. I held a number to my chest. I was 4 stone in weight.
No comparison to what I am witnessing in this bleak emotional place.
Tears came easily……………humans……….why?
Then the bricked up room where a human was forced to stand in the confined space. The delicate scratchings on the bricks from someone with no hope.
Block 4 and the tin of cyclon B.
We mustn’t forget.
The Jews, the Russians, the gypsies, the homosexuals..